Brown, white, red, black and blue

We all wore different uniforms.

Brown and white covered my body, red and black for Kevin and deep blue and white for Christian (with much shorter shorts than ever before).

We’re the same people; the same friends. We’re just not on a team together anymore. We will never wear blue and white together again.

Kevin, me and Christian

Kevin and Christian are two of my very best friends. I can be myself around them and not worry about the consequences. I was back to my regular, snarky self. We met each other’s teammates, but we mostly hung around each other, cheering on kids from our respective teams.

Last Saturday, we traveled to the University of Rochester for a track meet. We’ve been training here and there, but nothing hardcore. The best part of the meet was being reunited with my former teammates. It wasn’t until our reunion that I realized how much I miss having them around at meets. When I grumble about running, they know how to deal with me. They grumble right along with me and then we laugh about our complaints.

That’s what is different about college. You’re thrown in with a group of kids that are your age, but you did not grow up with them. You don’t know anything about anyone; you have to trust what they say about themselves is the truth. I had missed the comfort of friends who have known me since I was four and seven (I think Christian’s known me that long…ish). At school, it’s all about where you are now, not where you were.

Being with my friends reminds me of where I was. Where I used to be. Who I used to be.

They bring it all right back.

Just a Dream

PART I:

I dreamed a dream of a team

that knew letters could be

rearranged.

“Me” can be spelled with “team.”

But these teammates never cared.

“Me” is in “team” but it’s not

about me, or you.

It’s us.

Try spelling “me” with that.

 

It’s us or we. Not me.

We were best friends.

Always together, even after practice.

And when people asked us, we said

with pride, “we’re best friends

and we run together.”

This “we” was a team with no “me.”

We shared secrets and intimate

thoughts.

Loving each other. Running together.

Too bad that team was just a dream.

Weekdays: a whiny rant

I just feel worn down and beaten up.

There’s always something to do and I feel guilty if I’m not doing anything. When I take naps, my heart beats rapidly because I know I could be doing something. I’m not even going to try napping today; I know the guilt will consume me. Guess I’m still recovering from yet another crazy Monday.

I barely have time to breathe on Mondays. I have class from 9:30–11:20, a small break for lunch, then class from 1:30–2:20. I go right from there to work in the dean’s office from 2:30–5:00. Yesterday, my work time ran into about quarter after five, lessening my time considerably. I have a meeting each Monday from 6:00–approximately 8:00. Top that with the cherry of discovering I register for classes TODAY (a very unexpected event) and some statistics homework I will never understand and you get the idea of how yesterday was for me. I’m exhausted. And Tuesdays aren’t a breath of fresh air, either.

I wake up on Tuesdays and have to be with a team that clearly does not get along. Nobody on my team says “Hi, how are you?” or “Good morning!” to anyone. I’m lucky if I even make eye contact with some people. It makes me miserable to think about those Tuesday/Thursday mornings with those people. I wish so badly that things could be different. In high school, the girl’s cross-country team had differences with the guy’s team, but at least we were all friends.

It’ll be exciting to welcome the recruits in this August. Maybe they can turn things around for the better.

For now, I’ll endure those early morning weight room sessions and try hard to keep my snide comments to myself.

Excuses

But Coach, I couldn’t find my iPod Shuffle to take running with me today, therefore I couldn’t run! (Disregards fact that I own three other very useable iPods.)

MISSING:

Answers to the name “Pink Baby.”

(I’m sure I’ll find it soon…my room is a mess of suitcases and dirty clothes. It’s bound to turn up.)

Up here on cloud nine

I did it. After missing States by .1 on Friday, I went back on Saturday and did it.

I ran a 2:16.52 800m and got third place on Friday, June 4th. The state standard time for the 800m is 2:20 and I well surpassed that. The problem is, I failed to fall within the top two in my race; the girl who got second place had a time of 2:16.42. Yep, I came up on her in the end, but she managed to get me.

Saturday, I went back, ready to kill.

I ran a 4:43.48 1500m. That is a personal record by 10 seconds and a damn good time, if I do say so myself. The girl that beat me managed to nab the school record for her school; and her school is one of the best school of runners in the country. She thanked me for pushing her and providing her with some competition which she doesn’t face very often.

Me? I’m floating on cloud nine. I made it to States the day after I had been disappointed by not making it. This will be my second time competing at a state-wide competition and I am super excited about it. States is a great experience and I’m dying to know how much Track & Field states differ from cross-country states. I finally proved to everyone that I have what it takes.

For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

What every girl wants

My room situated in one of the four corners of the second floor (third if you count the basement as a floor); right in the front. I have two windows: one on the side of the house and one on the front. The side window looks out onto the roof of our first-story garage right next door. The front window looks out to our walkway up to the porch and the driveway that leads up to that garage I just mentioned.

On Friday I decided that I would not be attending our optional Saturday practice the next day. I made up my mind to sleep-in that day instead.

Like clockwork, Saturday morning I woke up at 8:00 without the help of an alarm (which I had promptly turned off the night before). I was pissed. I rolled over and fell asleep again.

I woke up the next time to “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your hair!” and heard the sound of quick footsteps on the pavement in my driveway just below me. It took me a second to clear away the dreamy haze around my thoughts to decipher the meaning behind the shout and the footfalls. When I realized what was happening, I jumped right out of bed and ran downstairs. My dad beat me to the door, and just beyond it stood a group of boys covered in rainwater and showing it off on their naked upper bodies.

“Where’s Emily?!?” they called.

“She’s sleeping,” my dad replied.

“Umm…no I’m not!” I said and then stepped outside to confront my visitors.

The whole cross country team was beaming at me as I stood there in my sleeping shorts, old stained Super 8 shirt, and extreme bedhead (but, what did I care?). Kevin (the one who yelled the thing about Rapunzel) lifted me up to wake me up and left me soaked from the water on his body. They had run all the way from the school up to my road and figured they might as well drop in and say hi to me. Before they all ran off, I grabbed my boyfriend and kissed him.

I woke up to a group of shirtless boys standing on my front porch looking for me. That’s probably what every girl wants to wake up to in the morning. It sure did brighten my day considerably.

Sometimes that’s just how it is

Emily SteeplechaseEverything is a blur to me now.

My whole seventh grade year of running cross-country and track has been erased from my memory. I remember events that took place, but I don’t remember ever actually running (though I did of course). Once I’m done with a race, I put it behind me and that’s that. I remember my first track meet at Holland (and we haven’t gone there since) where I missed my first open 800 meter race because I was too busy flirting with my then crush who is now my boyfriend. Going to Sectionals at Olean that year for the 4X800 is a blur. I don’t even remember what leg I ran for that relay race, but I do remember being concerned about a problem with my uniform. That’s about it.

Eighth grade is the same way. I remember running the 1500 at Super 8s (which was held at Franklinville instead of Salamanca) and getting fifth place. My coach told me that if I got a time under 5:15 he would buy me a shirt from the meet. I ended up with 5:14.something and he had to buy me one. I had never felt such satisfaction until that day. At the county championship meet that year (held at Strider Field in Jamestown) he told me not to try in the 1500. Well, I didn’t, but I ended up getting my best time that year: 5:11. But, it is still all a blur. Don’t even ask me about Sectionals that year. I remember lounging around in our tent and falling asleep with Cliff, but I could not tell you about my races. I ran around that track at Starpoint 14 times that meet, but all I remember is waving to my dad during my 3000 meter race (I was so excited to see him!) and being super sweaty after my 1500 (don’t even ask me for the time).

Ninth grade was phenomenal. I won the 1500 at Super 8s that year and got second in the steeplechase at Sectionals. I set one school record after the other. I came to love the 800 and the 1500.

This year I beat myself many a time. I reset my records in the 800 and 1500, but the steeplechase record from last year still stands (I only ran it once this year). But, it amazes me that I can barely remember anything from my early years of running. All of those races are a blur to me. They must have been painful, but they cannot be as painful as the races I have experienced in the last two years.

Sorry for my rambling, I just think it’s cool that I forget races as soon as they are finished. I cannot tell you how it even felt to run the 800 or 1500 this year at Sectionals or even last year. Once they’re done, they’re done and there’s nothing more I can do. That’s just how it is.

Dear Adam,

It’s April 25, 2009. Happy eighteenth birthday! I regret not being here at home to keep you company, but I had places to go and people to beat. I guess I’m writing this because we don’t really talk about “things” anymore…or maybe we never did. Oh well, I’m writing this for you now.

You might have had fun at the meet today with Dad and me, but I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted to be outside in the ghastly heat all day watching your little sister run around an oval. Believe me, I’m totally cool with that. I avoid as many baseball games as I can (no offense). So, we’re on the same page really.

I feel bad that I sort of “stole dad away” from you today. I know it wasn’t my fault or anything (I can’t help that he likes to stand around in the blistering heat to watch me run) but I still felt kind of bad. I mean, I had dad to myself all day today… and you were at home alone either enjoying yourself or dying a slow and boring death from lack of contact with anybody. I wish this could have been the special day for you that it was kind of supposed to be, you know? Sure, you said that you don’t care that you were home alone all day, but I know better than to believe that. C’mon. Today was your birthday. Your eighteenth birthday, for cryin’ out loud. I’m sorry that we didn’t do anything to celebrate that today.

Well, now that this letter full of apologies has swallowed you whole, I’d like to add something else: thanks for being a great big bro. You’ve done many things over the last eighteen years. You’ve crashed a car (and not recently at all, I might add), you taught your little sister how to swear, you barked like a dog at past birthday parties, and you’ve always made everyone around you laugh. You almost gave mom a heart attack in church that one day when you took the “wine” cup holders and held them up to your eyes. She was laughing so hard, I swear, she was going to pee her pants (unless she did and she just never told us…). You’ve gone from my buddy to my bodyguard and I have appreciated both (much as the older-brother-equals-little-sister’s-bodyguard annoys the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of me).

I don’t know what it’s like to have a younger sibling, but I’m sure it’s rather annoying, so I apologize for that. You’ve taught me so much, protected me so much, and loved me so much that I don’t even know how to thank you. So, I’m writing this letter. You’ll probably never read it, but here it is anyway. I couldn’t think of any other way to express what you mean to me. When mom or Jordy happen upon this and show it to you, you’ll know that I know that today meant a lot to you, even though you didn’t show it.

Love,

Emily